Safety Notice: Bolts at Long Dong

Hangar vs Glue In

 

While Long Dong is our beloved seaside crag, the very factors that make it a beautiful place to climb also make it harsh on metal hardware.

The Issue

Salt and sea spray at coastal crags like Long Dong has an extremely corrosive effect on metal. Whereas ordinary rust starts visibly on the outside, corrosion at seasides crags can result in SCC — stress corrosion cracking. This insidious form of corrosion cannot always be determined visibly, but the effects are clear — old bolts have been known to break at LD under bodyweight.

This issue has been recognized at LD for years, so more recent bolts placed from 2005 onwards are more trustworthy. Easily distinguished by their rounded shape as opposed to the sharp edges found on older expansion-style bolts, the shape and installation of glue-in bolts makes them much more reliable and they are the only bolts to be used at Long Dong.

The Rebolt Effort

More recently, in 2012, a group of Taiwanese climber started the most recent rebolt effort, raising funds and subsequently chopping countless old bolts at popular areas and rebolting with marine grade 316 stainless steel, which has been shown to hold up well at Long Dong for over a decade.

Is 316 Stainless Steel the long term solution for bolting at Long Dong? The debate currently rages on in forums around the world, but the tide seems to changing.

The Future

Whereas 316 stainless steel bolts were widely regarded as an effective seaside bolt just a few years ago, climbers and developers at seaside crags around the world are now turning to titanium as a possible long term alternative.

While marine grade stainless steel is known to hold up for at least a decade in harsh environments, the consensus is that all steels will corrode over time, whereas titanium, an inherently corrosion-resistant metal, has a service life measured in decades or more.

While the obvious choice on paper, cost, testing, design, and commercial availability have limited titanium’s more widespread adoption. These obstacles however, are being slowly overturned. As the discussion rages on, only time will tell if titanium is Long Dong’s future.

To see the latest status of the rebolt effort, check out Guidebook+, our local route tracker.

References

  1. One Response to “Safety Notice: Bolts at Long Dong”

  2. It’s great to hear that you are rebolting routes with at least 316 stainless glue in bolts rather than the old 304 Stainless or 316 expansion bolts. Glue in bolts of the same material will always last longer than expansion bolts in the same environment due to the lower stresses in the bolt itself.
    You are right in saying that Titanium will last a lot longer than any stainless steel and if you would like more information regarding these bolts then please visit http://www.titanclimbing.com
    These are the longest lasting, most corrosion resistant bolts in existence and although this is not a guarantee, they are likely to last many decades.
    Climb on people!!!
    Martin

    By Martin Roberts on May 8, 2014

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